Tour Championship Snooker 2022 – Zhao Xintong vs John Higgins Tips and Betting Preview

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The Tour Championship gets underway on Monday when the first quarter final gets played out inside Venue Cymru in Llandudno as Zhao Xintong takes on John Higgins in a cracking looking way to get the tournament started.

This match pits the UK Championship winner up against the Championship League champion in a clash which should be full of high quality with the two meeting over the best of 19 frames as every match will be this week.

Zhao Xintong

This has been an incredible season already for Zhao Xintong but if he has five more weeks of sparkling form left in him this term it could end up being a dream campaign for the Chinese star. Xintong has been known as a standout talent for a while but he really came to the fore at the UK Championship which he took down in fine style. If you were daft enough to think that was a fluke he proved otherwise when he won the German Masters soon after.

Those wins have got Xintong in here as the number one seed as he prepares to make his debut in the competition. This is an extremely elite tournament though and while he is a seasoned campaigner on the tour, he is still new to this sort of environment and we saw at The Masters that he still needs to be in and around these events for a little while longer before he is completely comfortable in them. In saying that, if he settles early on here he’ll take all the beating.

John Higgins

While John Higgins has a title under his belt this season, the Scot could be forgiven for thinking that he should have more than just the Championship League trophy on his mantelpiece this term having made it through to another four finals only to lose them all. His consistency this season has been right up there and had he converted one or two of those finals into wins he could well be the number one seed here himself.

I think it is fair to say that we saw the best of Higgins in the first half of the season but if there is one thing we know about class acts in any sport it is that they know how to peak for the big events and this is fast becoming one of the best on the calendar. With that in mind, we should probably expect to see the best of Higgins here even though he was playing in Gibraltar last week. He comes here having won the BetVictor Euro Series bonus pool so he can relax and focus on winning the three matches he need to in order to win the title.


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Head to head

These two have met seven times in proper competitions with Higgins holding a lead but it is a narrower one than you might expect with him in front 4-3. He is a little further in front in the frame count which sees him leading 29-23 which suggests his wins are more comfortable than that of Xintong. They have met twice this season with Xintong winning a deciding frame on his way to winning the UK Championship while Higgins dumped his Chinese foe out in the first round of The Masters 6-2. This will be the first time the two have met in a two-session match and it will also be their first quarter final battle. The little history we do have between these two sits on the side of the Scot.

Betting

I think experience is going to be a big thing in this match. John Higgins has played in these tournaments throughout his career but they are still new to Zhao Xintong and he doesn’t just come here to play, he carries the burden of being the number one seed. There is no doubting the quality of the Chinese star. He’s the real deal but these events generally see players peak for them whereas because he is new to them he could still feel a little overawed by them.

That is definitely what happened when these two met at The Masters and while the crowd won’t be as big here the occasion is still quite a big one. I expect to see Higgins somewhere near his best here. He’ll know he has to be on it to beat Zhao, especially in the safety department, and if he can keep his opponent at long range and get him missing while the nerves are prevalent within him then the Scot can build an advantage to take into the evening session and keep his man at arm’s length.

Tips

Back J.Higgins (-1.5 frames) to beat Z.Xintong for a 3/10 stake at 1.91 with William Hill

Back him here:

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Author: Martha Chavez